Collaboration for Equality, A Feminist Perspective
By Sydney Walters
Through March 31st
For the third year in a row, the We Choose Art collective presents A Feminist Perspective, an eclectic show unapologetic about waving the feminist flag. Baha H. Danesh has curated seventeen visual artists and four performance artists who excel at making works that deal with the representation of women.
Art openings are celebratory occasions; yet they are often doused with cavalier attitudes toward the art and observers alike. Contrary to that notion, the energy occupying in A Feminist Perspective is welcoming and engaging as each visitor arrives at the venue dedicated in demonstrating equality. The Montalban Theater is a unique venue for an art show. The bulk of the show is on the second landing rather than in the theater itself. Framed photographs taken at the Women’s March in Los Angeles line the hallways on either side of the makeshift gallery. It is the enduring force of that march that advances a spirit of inclusivity and urgency that floods the rest of The Montalban.
Entering the gallery is like arriving at a lively market. There are artistic gems to behold that are tucked in corners, spread on the floor and hung across windows. Handmade signs from the LA Women’s March are scattered haphazardly on the floor. Small portraits from Lorna Alkana’s Water Color Word Search Portraits hang on wire across the large windows, as a parent would display their child’s masterpiece. These portraits each have three words written around the subject. Through various word combinations, Alkana challenges audiences to find meaning via word/image association.
On a nearby wall, Jessika Wood embroiders the backs of partially clothed women. The textured cross-stitching creates depth and uncanny detail. Since the invention of clothes, sewing has become a blend of function and decoration. While women where homemakers, historically speaking, sewing henceforth become correlated with women. Like any other sexist industry, it is no surprise that embroidery has yet to be taken seriously in the art world. Wood reckons with this disbanded medium by creating exceptionally rendered figures with colored yarn.
Another artist to wrestle with perception, albeit in a much different way, is Zara Monet Feeney. Feeney takes one of the oldest and established mediums, oil paint, and distorts her subject with vibrant color contrasts in order for viewers to consider the method of painting itself. She pays homage to Edouard Manet’s Olympia and Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’s La Grande Odalisque and omits and adds characters as she sees fit, all the while pushing optical imbalance with color. These visual distortions provoke digital awareness of positive and negative, copy and paste.
Over the bar, Masculine De La Femme, a black and white video projection by Dan Monick alternates shots of different women sitting at a table doing various tasks. One woman deals cards and another peels an egg. Each woman gazes directly into the camera. In the last scene, a woman shaves her head never breaking eye contact with the camera. The electric razor and a pile of her hair lie discarded in front of her. Having long, touchable hair has been attributed as one of the key elements of a woman’s beauty. Yet this woman’s defiant stare tells the audience that although the hair isn’t there, she is just a beautiful as ever.
The Montalban will host these artists through March 31st. Each maker is eager to share their respective push for equality.
The full list of artists is listed below.
Anya Kavanaugh, Ashira Seigel Fox, Baha H. Danesh, Dan Monick, Eddie Jelinet, Jessika Wood, Lorna Alkana, Michael Flechtner, Monica Orozco, Monica Reyes, Randi Matushevitz, Rebecca Laws, Sapira Cheuk, Steven Wolkoff, Theohuxxx, Vakseen. Live performances by DeenaOH & Co, Fleur The Tease, Odious Ari, and DJ Luis Diskoe.